Security system /cameras for your rentals

9 Replies

Hi guys, I had one of my units broken into over Christmas, broke the window, stole some electronics and one of the property keys. It’s a college 4plex renting all girls. I’m very pissed and would like to secure the property especially that girls live there. I’m going to change the locks tomorrow, window got fixed, but what camera/alarm system do you guys recommend?

@Zk Lani , I can't speak to the alarm system. However I can offer a suggestion about locks.

I started switching to use electronic combination deadbolts. Each tenant gets their own combo. When a tenant leaves, I delete their combo and program a new combo for a new tenant.

I can also program single use combos for a trades-person to use to access the property for a repair. They use the combo once and it deleted itself.

Look for a local security provider in your area which installs systems which integrate with  The Qolsys is a great panel and the integration with is seamless. Plus the camera systems has and ability to have a full time recorder as an option is great too.  System is fully secured at extremely high levels of encryption.  I use them in my homes for not only alarm, but also for thermostat controls, door locks for each person to get there own door code, lighting controls, and cameras.  This is also what I do for a day job so very familiar with the product line. If you can find a company that installs the Qolsys panel along with PowerG sensors you will be in good hands. You will pay more than many online systems but you get what you pay for. 

On my MURs I don't use an alarm system as it gets complicated. I do allow tenants to add alarm monitoring to their units though.

My main doors use professional grade locks with elctronic strikes and access panels typically AIPhone or Mircom. This adds main door security in addition to the individual unit doors.

For cameras, I have been using WatchNet on some of my properties and had them installed via my security company. The security company happens to be a WatchNet channel partner. Lately I have been installing Ubiquiti cameras as I am already using their LAN infrastructure for internet service. They are solid (better than consumer) but not as industrial strength as Watchnet. However Ubiquiti's management apps are more modern and easier to use for yourself and your staff.

For development projects, I have been using wireless cameras (Arlo) in addition to an LTE modem. This means you can hide the base anywhere that is secure and there are no wires to cut (cameras or access). Plus my guys can move the cameras quickly depending on construction phase. The Arlos have a magnetic back so they can be moved to say an electrical box or drywall corner frame. I have caught 3 thieves with this already this year alone! Police nabbed them during the two distinct break ins. Saved me a fortune as they were going for the already installed copper. For a permanent install, though, I wouldn't use them as they are battery operated.

@Zk Lani there’s security systems and remote camera systems. These things are not one and the same. I’ve used battery powered motion sensor Blink cameras and other IP-based internet connected cameras for many properties when needing the ultimate flexibility, but make no mistake these are not home security solutions with redundant backup power and supplementary motion sensors and 24/7 remote monitoring. For those, see the suggestions others have made below. You’ll hear SimpliSafe making a big ad pitch on the BP podcast as well.

@Zk Lani i use Reolink 4g camera powered by solar panel, you install the unit right on the gutter (quick and easy). 24/7 HD access to your property including night vision infrared features. Reolink includes cloud storage free for one device. 4g ensures that power outages will not disrupt internet signal.